BAKERSFIELD — Acceptance of a revised environmental impact report for the proposed Walmart in the city of Tehachapi was pushed back by another court date following a case management conference on July 11.
Judge Kenneth C. Twisselman agreed to a request by Mark Wolfe, attorney for Tehachapi First, for more information between the city, Walmart attorneys, and the consultant who is helping with the California Environmental request, as well as an amended index of the information on record.
Attorneys for Tehachapi First, the city and Walmart all phoned in for the court hearing.
Patrick Carrick, the attorney representing the city of Tehachapi in the Walmart case, said that it would take approximately 30 days to go through all the relevant information and determine what was relevant to submit to Tehachapi First's attorney.
Carrick added that Wolfe would need sufficient time to review and submit objections or comments to the amended information.
Wolfe noted that if the information he requested was delivered in a reasonable amount of time, he could review and return any objections within seven days of receipt.
An initial date for a second case management hearing was proposed for Sept. 19, but Keli Oaski, the attorney representing Wal-Mart, Inc. interests, asked for an earlier date.
“Walmart wants to move as quickly as possible on this project,” Oaski said.
Wolfe noted that he was conscious of Walmart's desire for speed and yet wants to balance it with as much thorough information from the city's side as possible.
Carrack agreed to provide the requested information and materials to Tehachapi First's attorney by Aug. 18, and expect provide both the city and Walmart with any objections within seven days.
He said that all parties would attempt to resolve any objections informally.
Judge Twisselman agreed to a continuance of a second case management court session at 3 p.m on Sept. 5 at the Kern County Superior Court, Dept. 9, at 1415 Truxton Ave.
The hearing is the latest in the Tehachapi Walmart saga.
In 2012, Twisselman ordered the city to go back to the drawing board and amend its EIR after Tehachapi First raised objections and sued the city in 2011.
Those objections came on grounds that the EIR overlooked or skirted the negative impacts that traffic, air pollution, urban decay and noise problems would have on the community if a Walmart were built.
Tehachapi went through another round, with the amended EIR passing the city of Tehachapi's planning commission in a 3-2 vote, and ultimately approved by the city council in January 2014 by the city council.
One of the major concerns Tehachapi First and other opponents have with a Walmart setting up roots in the city is that the big box store would close down small businesses.
Supporters of the Walmart store coming argue that it would benefit the city in terms of sales tax revenue, more jobs and more retail shopping options.